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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
This UEFA five star stadium is a classic and is one not to be missed before Atletico relocate to the refurbished Olympic Stadium in 2016. Taking its name from the former club President, the stadium’s 54,907 seats are decked in the clubs red and white colours.
Officially opened in 1966, Estadio Vicente Calderon is steep-curved with three sides being open air seating and the Tribune having a roof over the top part of it. It is here where one of the city’s M30 dual carriage way runs directly under the stand.
Estadio Vicente Calderon was the first Spanish stadium to attain UEFA's five star grading and hosted games during the 1982 World Cup Finals. Although some time in planning the club will relocate in 2016 to their new home which they will eventually own. Estadio Vicente Calderon will then be demolished to make way for a public park.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Like with many classic stadiums, it's fortunate that we don't go to sporting events for the quality of the food and catering facilities on offer. Here the basic kiosks sell the normal range of sandwiches, sweets, crisps and hot and cold drinks. There are additional food stalls on the approach to the stadium, but it is advisable to eat before you arrive.
This is one of those places where the atmosphere hits you as soon as you exit the stadium's metro station.
Once you turn into the road approaching the stadium, Estadio Vicente Calderon looms large. The souvenir stalls and bars all add to the occasion as you walk around the stadium. Once inside, the atmosphere really hits you. The steeped stands encompass the noise generated by the home supporters. The game I attended was against Almeria and was without hardly any away support, but games against the larger away supported clubs would increase noise to another level entirely.
Madrid has loads to offer in addition to watching plenty of soccer. The Royal Palace, the city's Cathedral and Plaza Mayor Madrid are all worth visiting. The area around the Royal Palace is a mere two metro stops from Estadio Vicente Calderon and is an ideal place to kill time before the game.
There are plenty of shops and Tapas Bars here. Los Pinos, a Tapas Bar in Calle Carameul near to Puerta del Angel metro station is highly recommended for its quality of food and reasonable prices. Hotel Claridge located in Plaza Del Conde de Casel 6 next to the metro station is a very good hotel with an excellent location for getting around the city.
Atletico supporters are currently living the dream. La Liga champions in 2014 and Champions League Runners up, the club under Diego Simeone are heading for bigger things if they can keep hold of their star players. The club has a large fan base, although they are naturally Madrid's second biggest club behind Real. Fans are loyal and crowds have always been high even when the club has struggled on the pitch. Local rivals in addition to Real Madrid are Getafe and Rayo Vallecano.
Access is not good if driving, and parking is limited so the best option is to travel in by metro. The nearest station is Piramides, which is a comfortable ten minute walk. If you do drive in, then the city's M30 motorway takes you to the stadium. Madrid's main airport is also close to the stadium and would not take long via taxi.
Tickets are expensive, costing 60 Euro for the best seats. Prices increase again when the bigger and better teams are playing, including Champions League games. However the financial pain is worth it to watch a game in an iconic stadium like this one. Tickets are available online via the club's website or at the ticket windows for games against lower ranked opposition.
Extra stars for all of the fantastic matches that have been held here over the years. Another extra point for the city of Madrid, one of the best football towns in the world. Making the journey to Spain's capital will not disappoint any fan of sport.
Some stadiums, for whatever reason, just have that buzz about them. It's not about the quality of facilities, it's about where it is located and the design of a stadium. Like the old stadiums of Arsenal, Manchester City, Athletico Bilbao, Giants Stadium, and Old Wembley to name but a few the Vicente Calderon is one that can never be replaced and will live long in the memory once it has departed.
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Calle de Caramuel, 11
Madrid, Spain 28011
+34 914 64 10 30
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